|Sara Sara Elder and Theodore Sparreboom, ILO Senior Labour Economists, and authors of the report explain its findings.|
Behind this worsening figure is an even more worrying picture, revealing persistent unemployment, a proliferation of temporary jobs and growing youth discouragement in advanced economies; and poor quality, informal, subsistence jobs in developing countries.
According to the ILO’s Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report, an estimated 73.4 million young people – 12.6 per cent – are expected to be out of work in 2013, close to the levels reached at the peak of the economic crisis in 2009. This is an increase of 3.5 million between 2007 and 2013.
|Global unemployment trends 2007-2013|
“These figures underline the need to focus policies on growth, massive improvements in education and training systems, and targeted youth employment actions,” says José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, ILO’s Assistant Director-General for Policy.
“Employers, education providers and youth often live in parallel universes, they do not sufficiently engage with each other. We know a lot about what works but real impact and scale can only be achieved through close partnerships and collective action,” he added.
North Africa is also experiencing a very high youth unemployment rate – 23.7 per cent in 2012.
|Gender inequality across regions|
Globally, the lowest rates in 2012 were in East Asia (9.5 per cent), and South Asia (9.3 per cent).
ProjectionsIn advanced economies, the youth unemployment rate in 2012 was 18.1 per cent. It is likely to remain above 17 per cent until 2015 and is not predicted to drop below 17 per cent before 2016. In Greece and Spain, more than half of the economically active youth population is unemployed.
|Youth unemployment rates projected by region 2007-2017|
Shrinking optionsThose who do find work are forced to be less selective about the type of job they settle for, including part-time work and temporary contracts because they are in desperate need of any income.
“Secure jobs that were once the norm for previous generations – at least in advanced economies – have become less easily accessible for today’s youth. The growth of temporary and part-time work, in particular since the height of the global economic crisis, suggests that such work is often the only option for young workers,” Salazar-Xirinachs explains.
The share of young people being out of work for at least six months is also increasing. In the OECD countries, more than one third of young, unemployed persons were classified “long-term unemployed” in 2011 – up from one quarter of the unemployed in 2008.
This is particularly worrying, says Salazar-Xirinachs: “The long-term consequences of persistently high youth unemployment include the loss of valuable work experience and the erosion of occupational skills. Moreover, unemployment experiences early in the career of a young person are likely to result in wage scars that continue to depress employment and earnings’ prospects even decades later.”
The number of NEET’s in advanced economies – those neither in employment, nor education or training is growing and stands at one in six – putting them at risk of labour market and social exclusion.
|Over and undereducation by age and sex|
“These consequences are likely to become stronger, the longer the youth unemployment crisis continues and will lead to an economic and social cost – increasing poverty and slow growth – that will far outweigh the cost of inaction,” Salazar-Xirinachs stresses.
Targeted action needed
|Policies for youth employment: |
A global framework to tackle the youth jobs crisis
|Gianni Rosas, coordinator of the ILO's Youth Employment Programme|
It stresses that there is no “one-size-fits all” solution but says that the key policy areas, identified in the ILO’s June 2012 Call for Action, is a global framework which can be adapted to national and local circumstances.
The report calls for:
- Fostering pro-employment growth and decent job creation through macroeconomic policies, employability, labour market policies, youth entrepreneurship and rights to tackle the social consequences of the crisis, while ensuring financial and fiscal sustainability.
- Comprehensive measures targeting disadvantaged young people in advanced economies with high numbers of unemployed youth. These include education, training, work experience support and recruitment incentives for potential employers.
- Integrated employment and livelihoods strategies and programmes in developing countries, including training in literacy, occupational and entrepreneurial skills and business support.